Tag Archives: works

Galatians 3:1-3 (SN)

Galatians 3:1-5 – Pastor Mark Neely


All For You – Paul Baloche
Hosanna – Hillsong
Because of Your Love – Phil Wickham
Mighty to Save – Hillsong
Overcome – Jeremy Camp
Glorious – Paul Baloche

It seems like this grace thing is a recurring theme in Galatians. Oh wait that’s because it is!! Today we had three short verses to cover. Short, but jam-packed with great stuff.

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

(Galatians 3:1-3 ESV)

Paul is rebuking the Galatians for trying to please God on their own. Because quite frankly, that’s completely impossible. The Galatians were trying to please God and earn His blessing by their works. They were trying to buy something that wasn’t for sale. God’s grace is a free gift, given by His Spirit. There’s nothing we can do to earn it.

Now that’s all stuff we’ve heard before, I’m sure. Here’s the part that I’d never really thought about before: when I feel guilty over failing to walk in the Spirit, that’s my flesh rearing up. It’s prideful. To regret failure implies that I think I could have done better. In reality, to succeed at all in any area of life is purely the work of God through His Spirit. Scripture is pretty clear here:

We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 ESV)

“Polluted garment” is putting it nicely. I’m just going to leave it at that. Anyways, if even my righteousness is so awful, why do I flip out when I screw up? There’s grace for that! God doesn’t want me to wallow in self-pity; He wants me to get up and trust Him to work in me. He’s the only One capable of changing me, period.

I say it again: God is the only One capable of changing me. Everything good in me comes from Him. This is what the Galatians failed to understand. I don’t want to make the same error; I want to live by the Spirit and not the flesh.

Soli Deo Gloria!

P.S. if your mind isn’t completely blown by that, go back and listen to that whole teaching, because my dad did a much better job of explaining it than I did. It’s not that long, and it’s totally worth every second.

Tagged , , ,


Once upon a time, there was a child abandoned on an island with nothing but a Bible. As he grew up, he read the Bible over and over from beginning to end, and accepted every word as complete truth. Eventually, the kid was rescued and brought back to America. Having read Paul’s epistles to the Church, the child was eager to connect with the body of Christ in the land of the free. So that Sunday, he walked into a church. What did he find? What would he find if he met the church in America?
What would happen if that kid ran into me on the street? Would he be able to immediately identify me as a fellow believer?
James 2:20- But do you want to know, oh foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
Ouch. He didn’t say that faith without works is pretty flimsy. He didn’t say that it’s kinda weak. No. Faith without works is DEAD. D-E-D dead. Dead things don’t do anything. Dead things are completely and totally useless. Dead things are a hindrance to living things. Therefore, if my faith is not accompanied by works, not only am I dead, but I am also a hindrance.
Matthew 7:19-Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Again, ouch. A tree that doesn’t produce doesn’t just sit there and look pretty. It is there to serve a purpose, and if it doesn’t, there is no point for it being there. The tree isn’t reprimanded. It isn’t encouraged to do better next time. If that thing doesn’t produce, it’s done. The end.
1 Thessalonians 4:10- For indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in Macedonia, but we urge you, brethren, to excel still more.
So maybe I do have faith with works. Maybe I’m actually doing pretty well in that area. I cannot afford to be satisfied with just helping out on Sundays and doing my little weekly routine. I need to excel still more. To push farther, go out of my comfort zone. I need to grow. A few weeks ago, my dad (who is also my pastor) taught this section, and he said something that I’m pretty sure I’m never going to forget. As he talked about this concept of “excel still more,” he brought up growth. If something stops growing, it is no longer alive. You must constantly be growing to stay alive, and if you stop, you’re dead.
Growth is not comfortable. Nobody said it would be. If being a Christian means that we need to be growing constantly, then clearly Christianity isn’t supposed to be comfortable. If we’re comfortable, then we’re not growing. If we’re not growing, then we’re dead. I think we’ve already established that being dead is a problem.
So what would that kid find when he walked into my church? What would he find if he met me? Would he meet some flimsy little dead thing, or a growing Christian with every bit as much fire and zeal as he has?

Fact of Life: I’m completely lost without my Bible. I tried to finish this post (from the 1st Thessalonians verse on) with a different Bible because I think I left mine at school, and it was miserable. I love my little Bible!

Tagged , , , , , ,